Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: CLE Flats

Check out this glorious photo I took on Memorial Day Weekend -
 "American Courage" barge winding its way
along the river bends of the Cuyahoga in the Flats!!!
Symbolism? I think so...
Click the image below to enlarge and get the full effect!
Pictured CLE Flats: Detroit-Superior Bridge,  Jacob's Pavilion at Nautica,
Powerhouse Building, Cleveland Aquarium

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Easy Holiday Picnic & Cookout Recipes: Thai Bowtie Pasta Salad

Yes, you may have noticed my brief blogging hiatus. Ugh. The past few weeks have been a rollercoaster ride of busyness, unexpected changes and to be honest...I've needed some JAM time. Like the lil girl in that AT&T commercial says, "we want more, we want more!"

Anyway, over this past holiday weekend, I got to enjoy one of my FAVORITE insta-pick-me-ups...A  FAMILY COOKOUT! Typically, my Mom whips up the fave staples in the kitchen, my sister brings the creativity to dishes, and my Dad, well he masters the grill! I've become accustomed to being the "table-setter" but have dipped my toe into more recipes over the past years (what can I say, I'm very lucky to have a family of great cooks!!)

I pinned this recipe and made it once before. I wanted to test it out again and get my seeester's seal of approval before I made it for her BIG BIRTHDAY party this weekend :) It's super easy and simple for anyone, for realz, even me. Win!

Necessary ingredients!
Thai Bowtie Pasta Salad
Serves 6-8
(tweaked my recipe from original found on via pinterest)
  • 1 lb farfalle (bowtie) pasta
  • 1/3 cup canola, safflower or other mild tasting oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil (optional)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Pretty peppers all prepped
  • 2 large red, yellow or orange bell peppers
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 bag of MorningStar soy chicken or 2-3 cups of rotisserie chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons roasted sesame seed
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 cups washed baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (optional)
Boil and cook pasta according to directions. Make sure to salt the cooking water. Drain pasta and set aside. Return the pasta pot back to the stove. (You don't need to wash it.) Add the canola oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and rice wine vinegar to another pot. Heat over low heat until the honey is dissolved. Remove from heat and toss in the pasta. Add the bell peppers, chicken, shallot, pepper, sesame seeds,  and red pepper flakes (optional). Toss well to coat all the ingredients. Before serving, toss the pasta with the spinach, to keep the vibrant green as much as possible. Total time: about 35 mins, including prep.
Nom, nom, nom!
This can be chilled or served warm at room temperature, making it a big hit at any summer cookout or holiday picnic!
If that's not a sign of approval, I don't know what is!!!!
Yeah, 'Merica!!!! Happy noshing, and keep on JAMmin!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wedding Weekend Recap!


A few weeks ago, I flew to DC with my college gal pals to celebrate my gf's bachelorette party. This weekend, the long awaited day finally came and we celebrated Steph & Joey's wedding! It was so lovely--in every aspect!
Here comes the bride!

I've never encountered such a calm, collected (and beautiful!) bride--must be all that event planning experience :) From the church, flowers, dress, accessories, reception, venue, to live band, everything was on point! No detail went unnoticed during the memorable day and evening!

Swept her right off her feet!! :)
Photo: True love at its finest!
Photo source via Facebook
Congratulations Mr & Mrs!
Gorgeous flower arrangements!!
After the ceremony, we headed over to the Intercontinental Hotel for an awesome & first class reception. We had such a fun time as we celebrated our first college gal pal getting hitched to a great guy!!!

The happy couple's first dance

Love this cake-cutting photo

Congrats, Steph!

Rockin the poof and curls
JCU girls!

Old habits die hard...get weird :)
Reeling that great catch in..
haha gotta love those dance moves!

What an awesome wedding!!!! Dancing, toasting, laughing, celebrating, catching up with college friends, delicious food and sweets, and witnessing a major milestone for a longtime friend! I hope my future wedding is enjoyable as theirs was!

Congratulations to Steph and Joey...wishing you love birds a wonderful life and journey ahead as you start this new chapter in your lives. And thank you for including me in your special day! XOXO...keep JAMmin :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Meditation: Laughter & Lightness

Do you ever one of those days/weeks/years where it seems to be one challenge after the next? Yep, we've all experienced that feeling! I had a few instances recently of gravity punctured by lightness. What a difference it makes to pause and bask during the moments of lightness.
I was having a deep conversation with someone about eating and nutrition habits for IBD. I suggested "to avoid all dairy products, including eggs." ....Where is that food pyramid from grade school again? ... Well, evidently eggs are categorized as dairy in my book. My silly slip up prompted a belly laugh for both of us and an ongoing joke that helps break up the challenges of combating stomach issues. Hey...
Pinned Image
Image source
What I'm saying is, don't take yourself so seriously. Life is full of serious challenges, so relish in the moments you can laugh at yourself, at mistakes, at fear, at frustration, at adulthood.

Lighting up the laughter with some glow in the dark/neon glasses :)
Get a good laugh in when you're physically exhausted too. Like this weekend, when I spent 3 hours cursing that stubborn pachysandra I tore out from the garden and cathartic relief as I beat the crap out of the shoveled mounds to shake the dirt from the roots. Pyaw! Take that!
Pinned Image
Image source
So whether it's a heavy situation with health, work, family, life, or even gardening--be sure to counter it with some laughter and lightness!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: DC Trip in Pics

Let's face it, I'm still reeling from a whirlwind weekend trip to DC from my gal pal, Steph's, bachelorette party. So here's a less wordy highlight recapped in photos... enjoy :)
Sweet Treats!

Uniporn Rainho Cupcake.. yeaaah, awesome!

Banana, walnut, cream cheese, strawberry stuffed French Toast
Cucumber vodka mint + pistachio gelato =
winning combo  

Beautiful Blowouts!

Blowout Bar!

T.A., Steph *the honorary bachelorette*, Marie, me with our fab blow outs!

Styling and sassy!



'Merica loves George!
Oh Barry!
WWII and Lincoln Memorial

Washington Mall & Monument with Marie!
 A Sight to See!
Feelin sunny, honey!
Say whaa?
We want you!
Epic patio of kickball teams playing flip cup after their game!
Wall of Cupcake Napkin Notes
 Definitely lived up every moment in DC with my girls and much needed reunion. Here's to JAMmin!